Life After Graduation Demands Practical Skills in Ugandan Education

Upon graduating from college, many young people in Uganda have experienced pressure as they come to terms with the fact that life is more than just work and money. According to numerous scholars, “Education is the passport to the future because tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
However, one can question how this relates to Ugandan children, whose educational journey starts at a very young age of 3–4 years and who must spend a minimum of 19 years finishing all school levels following the education system. But in the end, there are more desperate job seekers than available positions, which leads to unemployment.

Over 600,000 students are thought to graduate from universities and other higher education institutions in Uganda each year, according to information given by NTV’s Sudhir Byaruhanga during his speech following the launch of the Uganda Graduate Volunteer Scheme five years ago.

“Out of 13% of graduates who are prepared to work as professionals or technicians, just one out of every four secure jobs, he pointed out. Some of these students are government-sponsored or have obtained government-facilitated incentives like study loans.” He said

Florence Nakiyinji, Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) Director of Human Resources and Administration, pointed out during a career Launchpad at UCU that opportunities present themselves to those who are prepared. She stated that students should have created a CV format as early as their second year and then continue to add their accomplishments as they get better.

“Imagine you meet your future employer and they ask you for your CV, and you are struggling because you do not have one. You can have a very good degree, and it takes you nowhere because you do not have what it takes.” She said.

Emmanuel Arinaitwe, on the other hand, who earned a degree in procurement and logistics from UCU in October 2022, stated that while it’s wonderful that they studied, it’s no better than not studying.

“The same years we spent reading books are the same years or more the employees want for experience; shouldn’t universities teach experience instead?” he wondered.

A Journalism, Media, and Communication graduate, Aulah Najjuuka, observed that life is difficult after campus and that they needed to have been informed of this before they entered the league. She claims that it is difficult to ask for help from your parents since you are afraid to do so, knowing you are now perceived as an adult who can sustain yourself.

She advises all parents to stop placing excessive pressure on their children to get employment right out of school. “Every time I spoke with my mother after graduation, she would inquire about a job, so I put off returning home,” Najjuuka said.

Conclusively, the transition from campus to the professional world in Uganda poses significant challenges for graduates, as highlighted by the experiences and perspectives shared by various individuals. Despite investing years in education, the reality of limited job opportunities and the emphasis on experience over qualifications can be overwhelming.

The pressure exerted by loved ones to secure employment immediately after graduation can bring forth feelings of inadequacy and anxiety among young adults, leading to a sense of disappointment with the education system and societal expectations.

Moreover, the lack of preparation for life beyond campus emphasizes the need for an all-around approach to education that will help integrate practical skills and experiences alongside academic knowledge.

Parents and educational institutions alike must recognize the importance of supporting graduates in their transitioning process as they join the job market and help them foster resilience in hard times.

By Asenath Were

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Asenath Were
Were Asenath is a young Ugandan journalist, writer, and Website manager for the Standard Community Digital News Paper at Uganda Christian University and a regular contributor to Nymy Media and Nymy Net.
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